Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/540/6239
Royals down to their last crown?
ACCORDING TO rags like the Daily Mail, the vital question at this time of approaching recession and rising prices is: "Is the Royal Family skint?" The official bill for running the monarchy rose by 5.3% to £40 million last year while the Queen has had her pay claim turned down.
Do you feel sympathy with her maj? After all, they have only a few mansions to choose from, Buckingham Palace, Balmoral, Sandringham, Windsor etc and costs are rising in all of them. But, take a closer look at royal income and spending.
Royal estates are worth big money in terms of rent income. Prince Charles made £1.1 million more from the Duchy of Cornwall estates last financial year than he did the previous year. This money came largely from rising interest rates, the recently departed boom in the stock market, property prices, and rising prices of food from his farmlands.
At the same time, he is paying £5,000 less tax and can afford to run his Aston Martin on surplus wine from English vineyards.
Then there's the trips - a charter flight for the Queen and Prince Philip to the US for six days cost £381,813. How many OAPs get that? Prince Charles and Camilla took the overnight train from Ayr to Euston last autumn and the bill came to £23,949. Well, that's privatisation, I suppose. As for Prince Andrew's trips, even royal apologists find them hard to justify.
The Royals might think of themselves as public employees of sorts, though possibly not the kind that joins a public-sector union. Most socialists would prefer to abolish the monarchy as a clapped-out institution that is used by papers like the Mail to try to justify the growing class divisions of society.
In The Socialist 2 July 2008:
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